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13 Free Alternatives to Photoshop

There’s a lot to like about Adobe’s suite of creative software, but its chief selling point is the fact that Adobe is the industry standard for professionals. If you need the absolute best in terms of features and support, then you really have no choice

But what if you don’t want to spend $50 per month on a subscription? Sure, you can opt for a single-app subscription at $20 per month, or a photographer’s subscription at $10 per month — but if you’re an amateur or hobbyist, that might still be a tough ask.
The good news is that there are free alternatives available. The bad news is that they’re mostly unremarkable. They’ll get the job done but we don’t recommend relying on these for professional work. If you’re okay with that, then here are the best free options to check out.

Alternatives to Photoshop

By now, everyone knows what Photoshop is and how amazingly useful it is even for those who have no real interest in serious image editing. In fact, it’s so popular that you probably know of all the free alternatives already. Still, here are the ones we think are best.

GIMP (Windows, Mac, Linux)


 You can’t go wrong with GIMP. Next to Blender, it’s one of the most professional-quality open source programs out there, meaning it’s good enough to be used in a professional context (albeit slightly harder to use and not as flexible in terms of available features).

Paint.NET (Windows)

Paint.NET is excellent if you’re tired of Photoshop’s bloat and you just want something that’ll load up quickly and only handle the most fundamental of features, like layers, plugins, etc. Basically, if you like Microsoft Paint but wish it was more powerful, then you’ll love Paint.NET.
The main downside is that it’s only available for Windows. If you’re on a different operating system, you may want to check out Pinta, which is an open source program that’s modeled after Paint.NET and available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Pixlr (Windows, Mac, Web, Mobile)

Pixlr is an awesome cloud-based image editor brought to you by Autodesk, the same folks who maintain products like AutoCAD, Maya, and 3DS Max. Pixlr may not be “industry standard” quality, but it’s packed full of useful features and you can rest assured that it won’t go belly-up anytime soon.
The best thing about Pixlr is you can access it from your browser OR download it to your desktop OR use it in mobile app form. The web and mobile editions are completely free while the Windows and Mac editions have feature-limited free versions (full versions are $15 per year).

If you’re just a hobbyist though, these free alternatives will probably be more than enough. Just try them all out and pick the one that feels most comfortable to use.
Are there any alternatives we missed? Let us know in the comments! Otherwise, tell us about which alternatives you prefer and why. We’d love to hear from you!

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